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General News of Wednesday, 8 January 2003


NPP MP Warns Of Boom

The NPP Member of Parliament for Asikuma-Odobeng-Brakwa has warned of dire consequences if government goes ahead to increase utility tariffs and prices of petroleum products. He said although it makes economic sense for government to aim at full cost recovery for the Tema Oil Refinery and utility companies, care should be taken to ensure that it dies not turn out to be ''boomerang''.

In a memorandum to Cabinet on a wide range of issues, Mr Appiah-Ofori alleged that the increases are part of conditionalities attached to financial assistance from International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

In his view, the cost of petroleum products and utility services to consumers include the cost of inefficiency, under utilisation, of plant capacity, low productivity, stealing, embezzlement of funds, profligate spending, kick backs and a host of other fraudulent and corrupt practices.

Mr Appiah claimed that the operations of TOR, ECG and GWC are ''characterized by these abnormal costs. Therefore full cost recovery by these companies implies passing on these abnormal costs to consumers to pay for them through huge prices for the products''.

In other words, some people connected with these companies should continue to enrich themselves, be inefficient and wasteful for the generality of Ghanaians to be called upon to make good the loss.

''This unfortunately leaves much to be desired. What this policy succeeds in achieving for the people of Ghana are high cost of living and unparalleled poverty giving rise to increased mortality and illiteracy rates in Ghana'', he wrote.